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to understand what lifting the debt ceiling is all about. it's to provide the federal government the ability to pay for bills and obligations already owing, already owing under the law. and so if the federal government were to wake up one day and decide not to pay those bills it would be like any of us getting up one day after having gone out and bought things on a credit card and saying, you know what, we bought those things but we're not going to pay for them. and every cent of those obligations has been voted on previously by congress over the years. which is why people say so clearly, don't mess around with the public debt because -- and the u.s. debt because it would have a very negative impact on our economy and on the world economy. now, tom mentioned that nobody's suggesting we not pay the "public" debt. that qualification is important here because earlier the numbers you used for the u.s. debt which was $16 trillion. the public debt is a little over $11 trillion. that is the debt we owe to bondholders. there are many of our republican colleagues who have said it's ok for the united
? >> not at all. the only thing that would spook them, michelle, would be the debt ceiling. and the issue is whether a couple of months of sequester and maybe vary short government shutdown isn't enough to prompt the two sides to speak, all while we're doing price discovery and budget resolutions, we're finally getting one from the senate. >> should we hope for one at this point? >> i had someone yesterday use the word lame duck already. there's not going to be me deal with congress. congress is not going to be very amenable to talking or at least the house and the president doesn't really seem very amenable to talk to him. so he's going to do everything through executive order so there will be no corporate tax reform, there will be no big dooelg deal on entitlements. those moments have passed and that was last year or the year before. never mind. >> when they did the deal of raising taxes on 400,000, you have to blow up a lot of opportunities to get things done. it will be difficult od tax reform, oregon individual. a lot of us would like to say corporate tax reform. >> everybody says th
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